Ethiopian Airlines signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to purchase five of Boeing newest air-cargo haulers, the 777-8 freighter. This is the industry’s newest, most capable and most fuel-efficient twin-engine freighter.
According to Boeing, the 777-8F offers an almost identical payload to the 747-400F along with a 30% improvement in fuel efficiency, operating costs and emissions.
The carrier is the second customer to announce a commitment for the freighter version of the 777X, which was launched with an initial deal for 50 aircraft from Qatar Airways in late January this year.
The MoU to order the 777-8 Freighter will enable Ethiopian Airlines to meet expanding global cargo demand from its hub in Addis Ababa and position the carrier for long-term sustainable growth.
Ethiopian’s cargo division serves over 120 destinations across the globe. According to the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), the carrier is the largest cargo provider on the continent, with 525,000 tonnes carried over 2020.
The carrier currently operates nine 777 freighters. Its fleet also includes three 737-800 Boeing converted freighters. The airline uses the belly capacity of its passenger fleet to move cargo as well. The combined fleet of 737s, 767s, 787s and 777s has a total of more than 80 aircraft.
Boeing seeks to bring the 777-8 freighter to market by 2027, about two years later than a A350 freighter planned by Airbus SE. Air Lease Corp became the first customer, placing an order for seven A350Fs at the Dubai Airshow 2021. Singapore Airlines, Air France-KLM and Etihad Airways are also opting for the Airbus freighter.